‘Tis the season: Practice smart fire safety in kitchens this holiday season

  • Published
  • By Leroy Clemons, Fire Inspector
  • WPAFB Fire Emergency Services

WRIGHT-PATTESON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- As fall leaves us, ‘tis the season to discuss all the fuss about kitchen safety.

The annual holiday season is here and many of the installation’s residents will gather to enjoy meals with family and friends. During this time, keeping fire safety in mind when you organize and prepare your holiday gatherings is imperative.

In addition to keeping any plants or trees well-watered, please remember to discard old or frayed lighting cords, and use candles responsibly. And while in the kitchen, safety rules are critical as cooking remains the leading cause of home fires and fire-related injuries.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, in 2021 U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 170,000 cooking fires. These fires caused an estimated 135 deaths, 300 injuries and more than $494 million in property loss.

Unattended cooking is a major contributing factor in fires and related deaths. Try to resist the urge of multitasking such as doing laundry or other chores, which will have you leave the kitchen.

Other causes to keep in mind are frying with oil, setting the cooking temperatures too high and making food while tired or impaired.

As you prepare your food list and check it twice, here’s a recipe for safer cooking you should use daily:

  • Keep food packages, towels and oven mitts away from the stovetop.
  • Establish a “kid-free zone” of three feet around your stove.
  • Use a timer to remind yourself the stove or oven is on.
  • Keep the oven door shut and turn off the heat to smother an oven or broiler fire.
  • Try to keep pot and pan handles pointed towards the rear of range.
  • Slide a pan lid over flames to smother a grease fire, then turn off the heat.                                  
  • Extinguish other food fires with baking soda; never use water or flour on cooking fires.
  • Keep a small fire extinguisher nearby and check it is charged.
  • Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves and small appliances are turned off.

During this holiday season, take a few minutes to discuss fire safety with family and guests who will be joining you. For more information on kitchen fire safety or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Fire Prevention Office at 937-257-4075.